CCI: Smallville

There was a buzz in the room last Sunday at Comic-Con International as fans were anticipating big announcements from the "Smallville" panel. Moderator and former supervising producer Jeph Loeb welcomed co-executive producers Todd Slavkin, Darren Swimmer, Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson to the stage. Joining them was cast member Justin Hartley (Oliver Queen) and fan-favorite Allison Mack (Chloe), as well as new cast members Cassidy Freeman (Tess) and Sam Witwer (Doomsday).

The panel began with Slavkin introducing a trailer for the upcoming season. The trailer included clips from all seven previous seasons recapping how the characters got to where they will be at the start of season eight. The following quotes were spread across the trailer narrating the story. "Every story has a beginning", "Every boy becomes a man", "Every man falls in love", "Every hero discovers his destiny", "Every hero says goodbye", "Every hero has a future" and finally "Every hero can be killed" with the final shot on the actor playing Doomsday with a very demented look on his face.

The trailer also featured new clips of Black Canary, Martian Manhunter and Aquaman in action. It also featured a look at Clark working at the Daily Planet, as well as a shot of Green Arrow shooting Clark in the chest. The trailer ended with a clip of Clark holding a small metal symbol in his hand and then clutching it closed. The symbol is of Superman's classic "S" chest-plate emblem.

Allison Mack began by thanking the fans and adding that Tom Welling (Clark Kent) and Erica Durance (Lois Lane) were very sorry that they couldn't be there in person but that they would like to send their love and thanks to the fans.

After that moderator Loeb began by taking questions from the audience.

When asked if the show's long running "No Tights, No Flights" rule was still in affect, Peterson had this to say. "What I can say is that we are going to hold to the no tights part of it."

A fan asked if the show's plan is to have the series eventually end with Clark putting on the suit and becoming the hero we all know. "For people wondering when Clark is going to start embracing his destiny, this is the year where he is going to be doing that more than ever," said Swimmer.

"We worked closely with ['Smallville' creators] Alfred [Gough] and Miles [Millar] for many years and they shared with us their ideas for how the show would end when that time comes. We hope that doesn't happen for some time but when it does happen I think that everyone in this room will be very happy. We got some awesome ideas," said Slavkin.

Mack said her character would this season be dealing with the events that happened to her at the end of last season and continuing to struggle in her relationships with Jimmy and Clark.

Witwer discussed the character that he'll be playing and said that fans would have to wait a little bit before they would see something that they recognize from the comic books. He described his character Davis Bloom as a paramedic who's a nice guy that starts to blackout and loose time. He went onto say that what he finds out was happening during this lost time is "not great" and that eventually the character will have to deal with that.

"The cool thing is that we're not trashing the Doomsday back-story, we're adding to it and interpreting it," he said. "What we're adding to it is the human consequence. Not just the human consequence of the people he victimizes but the human consequence for himself because he's actually a really nice guy."

Loeb added, "A really nice guy named Doomsday?"

Freeman explained her character Tess would be a mystery on the show for a little while. "With Lex is missing, Tess is the new girl in charge at LexCorp and nobody knows why," said Freeman.

While on the subject of Lex's absence, Peterson said that this is not the last we've seen of Lex. He went onto say that he did not know how many episodes that they'll do without actor Michael Rosenbaum, who left the show to pursue other opportunities but that the door is open for him to return if he decides to come back.

Souders talked about Clark's journey towards his future this season. "Clark is going to actively go out and seek his destiny as Superman and really take on the Daily Planet as his source of finding people that need his help."

Mack was asked if her character would start to use and embrace her powers this season. She said that like Clark, Chloe would begin to step in to her own, take on responsibility, and really explore and develop her powers this season.

A fan asked Hartley if his character would start a relationship with Black Canary like in the comic books. Hartley said that that would be fine with him but that he leaves that up to the writers. "They tend to stick pretty close to the comics but put a 'Smallville' tweak on it, so if it happens it's fine with me," added the actor.

When a fan dressed in a Green Arrow costume remarkably resembling the one Hartley wears on the show, the actor invited the fan to the stage. Hartley held his bow and plucked it back in character for the fans. Souders said that fans of the "Justice" episode don't want to miss the first episode of the new season.

Loeb began to tease that the show was looking for a writer in the audience who was familiar to fans and familiar with the world of Superman that would be willing to write an episode of the show this season. As the audience began screaming with anticipation, a quiet man standing in the shadows of the corner of the room, with a baseball cap on covering his eyes, raised his hand and simply said, "I'll do it" and began walking towards the stage. It was "Action Comics" writer Geoff Johns.

Johns was there to make the announcement that he would be writing an episode of "Smallville" this season featuring "The Legion Of Super-Heroes", the popular futuristic team from the comics who's existence was inspired by Superman's legend and travels to the past for the young hero's help.

"I'm going to be writing the episode, I'm excited to work with everybody on this and the cast is amazing," said the writer.

As the panel went on they were asked if a certain Amazon Princess would be making an appearance on the show this season? Peterson said that he would kill for that opportunity. "We're going to be doing a lot more with the DC mythology and bringing in characters that you're going to recognize. We've been working closely with DC and they've been great about opening the door for a lot of new characters," continued Peterson.

A fan asked about the long time rumor that Chloe Sullivan's character would be added to the DCU in the comics and wanted to know if that ever happened, how would Mack like to see her character portrayed? "I like how we established her [on the show] as the ultimate sidekick and his rock and foundation to jump from. I think that keeping that position in the comics would be really cool. I like her Girl-Friday position and I think moving in that direction in the comics would be really neat," said Mack.

"I'd like her to be the Red Hulk's friend," laughed Loeb.

When asked what fans will love about the Doomsday character, Swimmer had this to say. "Lex was an awesome villain but Lex couldn't kill Superman. Lex is smart but he can't have a knock down drag-out fight with Superman that destroys the city."

Hartley was asked if he was interested in playing Green Arrow in a feature length film? "Do I want a huge movie career? Hell, yes!" answered the actor.

Finally, the panel took a question from a fan dressed like the Dark Knight. Loeb asked the fan to identify himself and in his raspiest voice he said, "I'm Batman." The fan's question was simple, "When will I be on the show?"

Loeb answered, "Will security please come to the stage?"

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